Here, I present to you the holiday MRE, though you only have to ration yourself: pumpkin bread.
It is savory and sweet. It is moist and tender. It contains your daily recommended dose of winter squash. It eats well at any time of the day. It goes with coffee or tea, milk, hot or cold or even a glass of hard cider.
Say hello to the holiday week staple, pumpkin bread.
No matter what else is going on in the week leading up to Christmas, I make sure to bake at least two loaves, then stash them in the freezer. At any moment, I am ready to go to a holiday gathering, host friends or treat myself and my family.
Pumpkin Bread Meets Whole Wheat
I’ve been tweaking a recipe from the Joy of Cooking for many Decembers now, and this one is just about the way I like it: half whole wheat flour, low on the sugar, generous with the ginger (ground and freshly grated), and doubled up on the pumpkin (or squash).
Oh yes, and it’s false advertising. Because it’s really Squash Bread, but who would eat something called that?
This year, Robin from the Magic Garden project gifted me a giant Anasazi squash that I baked and mashed for this year’s supply.
It will get anyone straight from Christmas through New Year’s in excellent stead.
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread
This recipe loads up on the pumpkin and uses the bare minimum of sugar, making it just right for breakfast or brunch with yogurt and fruit. Of course, it pairs with tea or coffee any time of day. This recipe makes two loaves to double up your supply so you'll have one to enjoy now and one to pull out for entertaining or self-indulgence anytime during the holidays.
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks) softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs pasture-raised
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups pumpkin or squash puree homemade or canned
- 2/3 cup milk or milk substitute
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh gingerroot
- 1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger or pepitas for topping optional
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease two 8-inch x 4-inch loaf pans.
Whisk the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in a mixing bowl.
Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer.Add the eggs one at a time until completely blended. On low speed, add the vanilla and puree.
Mix 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of the milk, blending on low speed just until combined. Repeat once more and end with the remaining flour.
Divide the batter into the prepared loaf pans and add the topping, if desired. Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden skewer comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and turn out of the pans onto a wire rack.
Once at room temperature, wrap the loaves tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month